(If you are gathered in a group, you could begin with the following call and response.)
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts!
We lift them up to the Lord!
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give Him thanks and praise!
THE CALL | Matthew 16:24-26 [ESV]
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Lord, we think on the unjust wounds you suffered at the hands of evil men. Like plowers making long their furrows (Psalm 129:3), they afflicted you with scars. That you, the Son of God, suffered such wounds is awful enough, but what is worse is they were brought about by our willful wrongs. Forgive us, Lord, of our sins that required such a payment. And yet you took this payment on willingly – what a humbling thought. You suffered this affliction from your foes that you might triumph over them (Psalm 129:2), not for your own sake, but for the sake of your people. We praise you that our adversary, and even death, will soon wither like the grass on the housetop (Psalm 129:6), and that, in you, they will not prevail over us.
ASSURANCE | Isaiah 53:2-3,5 [ESV]
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
Day 57: Psalm 89
“I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him.”
Almost a thousand years before Jesus was born, God promised to King David that his descendants would always sit on the throne of Israel and that he would always be faithful to Israel and her king. You can read about this in 2 Samuel 7. Vv 2-4 recall this promise and celebrates God’s covenant faithfulness. Vv 5-37 is a profound and powerful reminder of the character of God and his faithfulness to his people. But in 597 BCE, the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem and took her Davidic king, Jehoiachin, into exile. And ten years later in 587 BCE, they destroyed the city, including the temple and the palace. The people were either killed or deported to Babylon. The kingdom of David was no more. What of the promises to David? Were they all for naught?
Vv 38-51 are the cries of the people in exile who feel let down by God. They are the desperate prayers of people who struggle to believe that God keeps his promises, let alone hears their prayers. Have you ever asked God, Where are you?, Can I trust you God?, or Are you ever going to help me? Psalm 89 invites us to wrestle with these questions, but in a biblically faithful way. Note that the complaint section, vv 38-51, follow truths that the psalmist, Ethan the Ezrahite, has already affirmed in vv 5-37. The juxtaposition of these two sections provides a model for believers on how to lament well. We are to bring our all of our questions, pain, uncertainty, feelings of abandonment in the light of what we know about God’s love, covenant faithfulness, righteousness, justice, and mercy.
Psalm 89 doesn’t give us an answer. It ends with a benediction: “Blessed be Yahweh forever!” followed by a double “Amen.” You can picture Ethan, arms outstretched, crying out for an answer from God. The question “How long, O LORD?” presupposes that there will be a resolution. As New Testament believers we know that resolution came at the cross, when the anointed king of God’s people (v 20) stood as their representative head, enduring the wrath of God as their sacrificial substitute, thereby satisfying the wrath of God and vindicating the faithfulness of God. It is because of Christ, who sits on David’s throne at the right hand of God, the Father, that the covenant made with David continues to be an eternal covenant. It is because of Christ that we can read Psalm 89 to reflect on life’s struggles and pains in the light of the promises already fulfilled in Jesus. (Seulgi Byun)
Praying Psalm 129:4
This week, we will use Psalm 129 as a prayer template that we move through progressively each day.
“The Lord is righteous;
he has cut the cords of the wicked.”(Psalm 129:4)
Give thanks to the Lord for his righteousness. Pray that evil would not prevail, and that his righteous judgments would be established on the earth.
I believe in the God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth.
I believe Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary;
suffered under Pontius Pilate;
was crucified, dead, and buried;
he descended into hell;
the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the resurrection of the dead;
and the life everlasting. Amen.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 [ESV]
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
City Reformed Presbyterian Church
The 90 Days project is a collaborative effort of many church leaders. Matt Koerber and Daniel Snoke have taken lead roles, with others helping to write daily devotionals.